What to do if You Are Bitten by a Dog
There are many reasons why dogs are considered to be man’s best friend. However, that phrase doesn’t apply if the dog in question is on the attack! Nearly five million people are bit by dogs every year, according to statistics kept by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly a million of those bites will require medical attention, with almost half the victims under 18 years of age. About a dozen deaths a year are attributed to dog attacks. What should you do if you become one of those millions of unlucky people who get bitten by a dog?
The first thing you should do after a dog attack is to seek medical attention. Even a seemingly minor bite can develop complications, so don’t just dismiss the bite as a minor flesh wound. Only a medical professional is capable of fully evaluating your injuries, so seek medical treatment as quickly as possible.
Identify the Owner
Once your medical needs have been tended to, your next priority should be to determine the owner of the dog. If the owner was present during the attack, then get their name and other contact information. Ask for the name of the dog’s veterinarian, so it can be determined whether the dog has had up to date rabies vaccinations.
Tell the Police
Always report a dog bite to the police, which will create an official record of what happened that can be referred to the future. A dog that attacks people is a potential menace to the general public. Therefore, reporting the incident to the police will also set in motion any steps that can be taken to ensure that the dog doesn’t attack again.
Tell Your Lawyer
There are a number of legal issues that can arise relating to dog bites. Every state allows people to seek just compensation from dog owners if it can be shown that they were negligent in taking precautions to prevent their dog from attacking. Sometimes parties other than the dog owner can also be considered responsible. In the state of Virginia, law firms such as Marks & Harrison that specialize in dog bite cases will give you a free consultation to evaluate the legal grounds for action. In any case, you should make the effort to learn more about what your options are from someone with the legal expertise to advice you.